An Intern's Perspective
It’s almost impossible to truly know if you’ll enjoy a certain job or career until you try it, and an internship is the perfect way to “test the waters”.
For students and recent graduates, participating in an internship is an excellent way to shape and plan for a successful career. Not everything can be taught in a classroom or learned from a book, making interning an excellent vehicle for introducing those new to the workforce to a level of experience they may not otherwise be able to gain.
Why intern? The experience you’ll gain will improve your skills, build your resume and network of contacts, and increase the likelihood that you’ll have a job upon graduation. You can apply classroom learning to the workplace, as you develop related work experience. A chance to try out one’s interests, values, and abilities in a work setting, as you develop and enhance your professional skills. Other skills like leadership, analytical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills are best learned on the job. By interning, one can experience firsthand what someone in a given career does each day. You’ll work on real projects, interact with real clients, and participate as a full member of the team. Your opinions will be valued, and your contributions will make a difference. Not only can you apply what you learn in the classroom to the real world, but you can also take those experiences back into the classroom. You will gain valuable experience that will help you in the future.
Am I ready for the real world? You need experience to get a job, and you need a job to gain experience. If you haven’t worked in a company yet, you’re not prepared to choose a job after graduation. You need to gather insight and get an inside glimpse of the industry before working in it. It will expose you to a different way of thinking and working. In fact, it may be difficult to compete for the best jobs if you haven’t completed an internship yet. When you get job interviews, employers will be more impressed to see you have practical experience rather than just classroom experience. Most companies will actually hire successful interns over candidates they’ve just met. If you succeed and excel in your internship, you’ll definitely have a competitive edge over the other applicants. So try and get an internship in a company that you would want to work in after you graduate. An internship is also ideal for recent graduates who have been experiencing difficulty breaking into their dream industry. The experience you’ll gain will make you much more attractive.
Emily is a New Yorker new to the South and the real world. Graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising this past May. She is currently interning at ROBRADY design.